Education and Schools

Children growing up in Ashford have access to a good choice of education facilities from pre-school right up until college.

Ashford is home to 53 ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ primary and secondary schools, including two independent schools, two Grammar schools, as well as the impressive Ashford College. Its state-of-the-art campus is located in the town centre, offering undergraduate courses and apprenticeships, whether full-time or part-time.

Ashford School

Ashford School is an independent school for children aged three months to 18 years old.

The school has won a number of awards, including the Inspiration Teacher Award and Support Staff of the Year Award at United Learning’s Best in Everyone Awards 2021. It was also shortlisted for the Student Initiative of the Year category in the 2021 TES Independent School Awards.

The school is divided into two campuses: the nursery and senior school in the town centre, close to the train station, and the prep school set in rural Great Chart, three miles from Ashford. To make it easy for pupils and parents, the school runs early morning shuttle buses from the town centre to Great Chart for a stress-free morning commute!

Ashford School, Primary Schools in AShford, Secondary Schools in Ashford
Ashford School

Highworth Grammar School

Highworth Grammar School aims to help students achieve their full potential and become life-long learners. Students are prepared for their futures with a broad curriculum, a range of extra-curricular opportunities and regular careers education, information, advice and guidance.

GCSE and A Level examination results are above the national average. In 2023, 64% of students gained at least five Grade 7s or above at GCSE and 69% of all grades achieved were A*-B grades at A Level.

The students at Highworth are highly motivated and keen to participate in activities which celebrate diversity and respect for others. The school offers regular opportunities for students to develop and share their interests and talents in a supportive and inspiring environment.

Highworth Grammar School
Highworth Grammar School

The Norton Knatchbull School

The Norton Knatchbull School has proudly served the community of Ashford since the 17th century. We combine traditional values with a forward-looking and vibrant learning environment where young people are nurtured to become considerate, confident and well-rounded individuals.

We provide an atmosphere in which all our students feel supported and inspired to strive for their personal best. Our approach to academic study is varied, disciplined and fosters a life-long love of learning. We value community and celebrate diversity. As a result, our young people are able to make informed and positive life choices, and are equipped to face the challenges of a fast-changing, competitive and increasingly global environment.

The Norton Knatchbull School
The Norton Knatchbull School

Lady Joanna Thornhill Endowed Primary School

Lady Joanna Thornhill Endowed Primary School has been rated ‘outstanding’ in its last two Ofsted inspections (2008/2009 and 2014/2015).

At Lady Joanna they want an expansive education for the children and one which supports the characteristics of effective learning for The Head, Heart and Hand. They provide opportunities for children to play and explore, to be active learners and creative thinkers in order to build resilience.

They are a Rights Respecting School (Unicef) making a positive impact on the whole community, supporting compassion.

Following KS2 assessments completed in Summer 2023, the school was banded ‘Above Average’ in Reading, ‘Well Above Average’ in Writing and ‘Above Average’ in Maths (figures published in April 2024).

Great Chart Primary School

Great Chart Primary School in south Ashford has an ‘outstanding’ rating (June 2023) with 420 pupils aged 4-11 years old attending.

The most recent Ofsted inspection in June 2023 stated the school has the highest expectations for all of its pupils. The report also found children thrive, behaviour is impeccable and they take great care of each other and their school.

In 2023, 75% of Key Stage 2 pupils achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, compared to an average of 59% across England. Plus, children have the opportunity to use an impressive outdoor gym or enjoy the peace of the sensory garden.

Ashford College

Young people have the opportunity to stay local and study in first-class facilities at the Ashford College on Elwick Road.

With high-quality teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and strong connections with local employers, the college helps its students onto the next step, whether that further training, higher education or a job. Ashford College supports a number of specialist pathways, including Art and Design, Computing, Engineering, Health and Social Care and Music. The college also offers Early Years, Plumbing, Electrical, Hairdressing and Beauty and Business.

The college is part of the EKC Group, which operates six colleges in East Kent and is heavily involved in the local community. EKC Group is positioned to deliver the solutions the business community in Kent needs to meet the challenges of the future. From unlocking the potential of thousands of skilled students, to working alongside business to directly develop a curriculum that’s right for their growth aspirations, their aim is to make their resources available to you for the benefit of the communities they serve.

Ashford College, Studying in Ashford
Ashford College

Nearby universities

Due to Ashford’s strategic location, there are a number of universities easily accessible from the borough.

15 minutes by train, Canterbury is home to the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University and University of the Creative Arts.

Taking the train to London means that in less than 40 minutes you are a short walk from the many universities and colleges near St Pancras International station. These include UCL, University of Westminster, City University of London, SOAS and University of the Arts London.